I was trolling through the hundreds of Safari bookmarks I have collected over the years, hoping to organize and purge a bit. I came across these two sites, Strange Maps and Radical Cartography. I’m not sure why I bookmarked them in the first place. It may have been as simple as the fact that they’re just plain-old interesting. Who new cartography could be so cool? Now, I’ve seen some good-looking maps, and some that just work better than others. This is something entirely different. These maps provide insight. They transcend simply giving you a sense of size, distance and proximity. They tell stories. They shift perspective. You leave them with a sense not only of place, but of meaning.Take the Hungry Gulf Crocodile, seen above. More than just being a map, it tells you somthing fundamental about that place. The Persian Gulf can be a dangerous place, but risk hazard becaise that’s where the oil is. Granted, it has a distinct Western (American) bias, but that’s fine. This isn’t intended to be journalistic fact, rather op-ed rhetoric. In any event, it makes its point.
Archive for the ‘news’ Category
I’ve been in sunny Calgary for the last week on business. (That actually isn’t sarcasm, it has been sunny and nice.) Anyway, I’ve had some free time to check out Canadian TV, and I have to say, it’s generallly nothing to blog home about. The sports stations cover a lot of Canadian football, the weather is in celsius, and they tend to show only the crappiest American shows (So You Think You Can Dance?).
Thankfully, thedre has been one very pleasant surprise, The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos. The best way I can describe the program, and its host, is to say that is is a sort of hipster version of Fresh Air. The host is a young, seemingly-cool, definitely smart, Canadian lad. On consecutive nights, I saw him interview Gore Vidal and the Barenaked Ladies with equal verve. Given any guest, theme or topic, Stroumboulopoulos is always looking for the insightful point of view.
Check it out. George Stroumboulopoulos is definitely smarter and more interesting than Anderson Cooper.
When I heard this story about a new application of military technology to advertising on NPR today, I couldn’t wait to get home and see it. I was trying to imagine what it would look like. Glows in the dark? Blackhawk helicopters? Holographic? I mean, it sounds kinda cool on the radio.
Well as it turn out, it’s just and another example of urban spam, and in my opinion, a more egregious example than most. Why? Because it had the potential to be cool. This electroluminescent technology is visually interesting, but a ReMax ad hardly does it justice. It’s the same lame ad they run in the daytime, just tarted-up for the evening. There are plenty of brands that could use the technology as a part of the creative execution, not just as a bell and/or whistle. I’d love to see that trippy Lunesta butterfly glowing around town. It’s just a shame that my first exposure to it had to be so banal.
Let’s just hoe that Atlantans don’t mistake it for a bomb.
Here’s an interesting example of user-generated content in the political arena.
(Actually, it’s not “user-generated” as much as it is “user-adapted”.)
At first glance, it seems to be little more than political mudslinging, the likes of which I’m sure we’ll see more of as the 2008 primary races heat up. Upon further contemplation, it actually has an insightful point of view, and the execution of this video really helps get this point across. There is something a bit “Big Sister” about her announcement video, and she seems to be no stranger to Orwellian doublethink.
I lean pretty far to the left, but I’ve never been able to come to terms with my own reservations about Hillary. Something about this video resonates for me and makes things a bit clearer. Of course, her mysterious southern accent helps as well.
Thanks to Cord Silverstein at Marketing Hipster for bringing this to my attention.
The Sony Playstation Riots of 2006.
Watch all of the action here.
Tucked away in the “Education Life” supplement to Sunday’s New York Times was a brief article about the Orange Band Initiative. The idea behind Orange Band is opening up discourse between strangers about issues that interest them. It’s a decidedly low-tech approach to social networking.
Here’s the concept in a nutshell:
Have something you dare deeply about? Just get yourself some orange ribbon, write something about your issue on the ribbon and attach it to your person (or bookbag). Don’t want people to bother you? Don’t have an orange ribbon. Simple, huh?
The initiative has taken off at a few universities, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re all over the place in a few months. Their website actually has directions on how to start an Orange Band chapter at your school, if you’re so inclined.
People have been clamoring for the next Livestrong bracelet, and this just might be it. I actually think it goes a step further. More than being a signal to other that you have a issue you care about, it has the potential to open up a dialogue about that issue. And, the issue can be anything—stem cell research, French New Wave cinema, dollhouses or Democratic politics. It’s completely up to you. It’s personalizable, self-selected and intended to promotes dialogue between strangers—a great, viral idea.
Check out this brief video about the Orange Band Initiative.
I can’t remember the last time Saturday Night Live actually had a musical moment worth remembering. As irrelevant as SNL has been in recent years, the musical guests have been especially toothless.
That’s why this Beck clip from last Saturday is such a surprise. Beck and his bandmates (and their puppets) perform Clap Hands acoustic, using mainly flatware, wine glasses and a plastic turkey as their instruments. It’s a classic SNL performance, right up there with Elvis Costello and Paul Westerberg.
BTW…This Ben Folds clip made the rounds a few months ago. Same general concept—something electronic performed acoustically—and to great effect.
In the pages of its first issue, GOOD takes on some big issues, the biggest being our collective love/hate affair with America. Great minds like James Surowiecki and Neal Pollack join in the debate, offering their unique perspective on what it means to be an American in this day and age. On a lighter note, GOOD also tells you how to buy a US senator, tracks the fame and fortune of Paris Hilton and introduces you to 8 individuals who are trying to change the world.
While other magazines take on similar subject manner, the beauty of GOOD is that is does so without being too abrasive or self-righteous. It may be a bit snarky at times, and even I can’t deny that it leans to the left a little. Such minor “faults” can’t diminish the importance of attempting to make its readers stop and think about what really matters.
Putting their money where their mouth is, GOOD has also pledged all of the proceeds from charter subscriptions to charity. Better yet, you get to choose the charity to which your $20 goes.
Images of Olympus’ prototype for a wood-bodied digital camera have been circulating for a while now. It’s such a great idea, taking something hard and cold and making it smooth and warm.
Olympus did something similar back in the nineties. Traditional 35mm cameras were all being designed as tech objects, even though it was obvious that digital cameras were the way of the future. Olympus bucked the trend by releasing the 35mm LT Series. The LT stands for “leather tech”. I own one. I never use it, but I do take it out and look at it once in a while. It’s a thing of beauty.
All of this remings me of a great post by account planner extraordinaire Russell Davies’ about how products are “designed to be new” and don’t age well. It used to be that things gained character and patina as the got old. Now, they just get old.